Cruelty, Torture and "Transformation" in the Fifth Division of Shanghai Women's Prison

Shanghai Women's Prison, the only women's prison in Shanghai, is located at 29 Xinnan Road, Sijing Town, Songjiang District. After the persecution of Falun Gong began in July 1999, it became known as a hell on earth for women who refused to renounce their belief in Falun Gong.

Prison officials have employed numerous brutal means to torture Falun Gong practitioners, and have committed heinous crimes in their efforts to "transform" them - to force them to renounce their beliefs and conform to the will of the Party - for some 14 years now.

Crimes Committed in the Fifth Division

The Fifth Division of Shanghai Women's Prison was called the Political Study Division, but it was actually a place that specialized in torturing Falun Gong practitioners. A Monitor Command Headquarters was set up in the division to monitor cells around the clock and videotape the inmates. The inmates in the Fifth Division were trained to monitor and “transform” practitioners. For their participation in torturing the practitioners, their labour quotas were reduced 30%, and their terms were also reduced.

Every practitioner was detained in solitary confinement for three months when they were first admitted to the division. Some solitary confinement cells were extremely cold in the autumn and very hot in the spring; the conditions in winter and summer were simply unbearable. Every cell is less than three square feet.

The inmates monitored the practitioners around the clock and tortured them using various means, including sleep deprivation, prohibiting the practitioners from taking showers, taking breaks, using the toilet, drinking water, etc. They made sure practitioners had no control over their personal belongings, were forced to watch videos that defamed Falun Gong, and were also pressured to write all kinds of guarantee statements to renounce Falun Gong. The practitioners were given inadequate amounts of food, forced to sit or stand for extended periods of time, not given enough water to wash their clothes, cursed and beaten every day, and denied family visitation rights.

A training programme was set up in the Fifth Division to train inmates how to “transform” practitioners. These inmates read many books and watched many videos that defamed Falun Gong. After training, more inmates were assigned to monitor practitioners. To cover up the torture, solitary cells were refinished with sound insulation boards to prevent the screams of practitioners from being heard. Many practitioners were detained in these solitary cells for months or years.

The solitary cells targeted practitioners who refused to renounce their beliefs. Prison regulations don't allow any prisoners to be detained in solitary confinement for more than fifteen days. In a regular cell there are twelve beds. When a practitioner who refused to be “transformed” in the solitary cell was transferred to a regular cell, the rest of the inmates in the cell were assigned to monitor and torture her. To have their terms reduced, the cell heads ordered other inmates to beat and torture practitioners.

Long-Term Solitary Confinement of Falun Gong Practitioners

Ms. Li Huayan was detained in solitary confinement for more than nine months. She consequently suffered a metal collapse. A prison official released her from confinement only when higher officials came to inspect the prison.

Ms. Feng Rongxia was sent to the Shanghai Women's Prison in September 2007. She subsequently had to be hospitalized more than a dozen times. Although she had developed severe illnesses, the prison officials still tried to force her to renounce Falun Gong. In the winter, the prison guards ordered inmates to torture her. She was beaten until she lost consciousness. Cold water was poured on her and she was kicked. After she woke up, the torture continued.

When Ms. Feng returned to the prison from the prison hospital in July 2008, after a month there, she lost about eight pounds. When her family members visited her, they saw bruises on her arms. Her face was pale and her cheeks were swollen. She told her family that the bruises were from the torture she suffered after refusing to renounce Falun Gong. When she reported the mistreatment to the division chief, she was met with retaliation and was tortured even more. She was also deprived of sleep.

Ms. Bai Gendi had been detained in the prison for four and a half years. She was detained long-term in a solitary cell with four or five inmates monitoring her in turn. These inmates tortured her using various methods:

1. She was not allowed to use the toilet, only a jar. When the jar was full, the prison guard did not allow Ms. Bai to empty it, but forced other inmates to do it. Thus the inmates became disgruntled and put more pressure on her by insulting her and making things more difficult for her.

2. She was not allowed to wash her hands during the hot summer, and for more than eleven months she was only given a small amount of water with which to wash her clothes.

3. Urine was poured on her food. She was not allowed to purchase any food, eve though the meals provided by the prison were very poor.

4. Dirty water was poured on her before she went to sleep. She had to sleep with wet clothing, on a wet bed.

5. She was beaten with rolled-up magazines. She had bruises all over her body. The persecutors also pinched and beat her private parts.

Ms. Wang Quandi was sentenced to three years in prison. Since she refused to renounce Falun Gong and wear the prison uniform, she was brutally persecuted for a long period of time.

She was locked up for a long term of solitary confinement. The guards tied a towel over her mouth and forcibly put the prison uniform on her, along with a constraining belt. The constraining belt tied up her body and her hands, one to her front and one to her back. Her hands became stiff and numb without blood circulation. She was even kept constrained with the belt during sleep. Her hands and arms were in excruciating pain, and her hands became atrophied.

The guards did not allow her family to see her during their visits. They were only allowed to talk to her over the phone. Her family was also not allowed to bring food for her. She became very weak after the long-term torture. Chen Yumei was responsible for the constraint belt torture.

Ms. Zhang Ying was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. She was detained in the Fifth Division. In November 2010, a prison guard instigated inmates to beat her. Guards Hou Liqin, Zhou Lijuan, and Shi Lei also used other ways to torture her. They had inmates taunt and torment her. She had high blood pressure and a heart problem, and was unable to walk by herself. However, she was still forced to do labour work. When she refused, she was put into solitary confinement with her hands cuffed.

Ms. Sun Zhuoying was sentenced to a four-year term. She had been forced to stand or sit until midnight for long periods of time in the Fifth Division, since she refused to renounce Falun Gong. Her head was heavy and dizzy due to being deprived of sleep for a long time. She was often beaten by three or four guards.

Despite her old age, Ms. Sun was forced to clean the toilets, however she was not allowed to use them. She was forced to wash herself and urinate in a jar inside the cell. The guards did not let her empty the jar herself so as to cause her cell mates to resent her and other Falun Gong practitioners. She developed a skin disease because she was not allowed to take a shower for the entire four years.

When Ms. Zhang Sumei refused to cooperate with the persecution and cried, “Falun Gong is good!” she was detained in a solitary confinement cell. She later went on a hunger strike to protest. However, she has been detained there ever since.


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